I love to cook. I think I picked
it up from my dad. Back when I was
just a little tyke, I remember waking up in the middle of the night and
finding Dad baking pies. He would put a finger to his lips, warning me
to keep quiet. Then he would let me sample a little. After making me
promise to keep this our secret, he would send me back to bed. “I want
to surprise your momma,” he would say.
It wasn’t until I had kids of my
own that he came clean about the
true reason for keeping his midnight bake-fests a secret. He explained
that he burned more pies than ones that turned out, and he didn’t want
Mom to know. By morning, Dad would have the mess cleaned up, and Mom
would either wake up to a couple of perfectly baked pies or find Dad
making breakfast. Naturally, he would burn a couple slices of toast to
cover the lingering odor of burned pies. As I said, Dad loved to cook,
but I never said he was very good at it.
So is there a recipe for writing
inspirational fiction that
changes lives? In a word, yes. In fact, there are many. You could say
that there are as many formulas as there are writing styles, genres, or
even writers. Most Christian authors would agree that God plays an
important role in their creative process. Many consider writing a
ministry, to see lives transformed in a supernatural way. For these
authors, writing a novel includes a great deal of prayer and seeking
God’s direction. Most of the Christian novelists I know fall into this
Not all recipes turn out like
the picture in the cookbook either.
I’ve found that it is pretty much the same with writing. I have written
some novels that I am proud of and others that are, well, not so great;
and I will admit to at least one story that I would hide from my own
mother. I guess I get that from my dad too. If only everything we wrote
would turn out the way we first envisioned it.
The truth is that even if we
spend a great deal of time in
prayer and trying to hear from God, not everything we write turns out
as we would hope. In my case, some projects have turned out to be
downright embarrassing. Does that mean we are somehow less spiritual
when we fail? Does it even matter? I like to think of my occasional
literary faux pas as part of paying my dues. It is all part of the
learning experience, right? Besides, God wants us to be humble.
So how do you handle it when you
fail? Do you manage to take it
in stride, or do, like my dad, destroy all evidence, allowing only your
successes to define you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
That is it for now. Until next
month, may all your pies and everything you write turn out perfect.
Happy New Year to you all!